La Dolce Vita – Weekend in Rome

We got married in Rome in 1997 and so it will always have a special place in our hearts.  We have been back a number of times since then but until last weekend it had been eight years since our last visit…

There’s history around every corner in Rome! (The Castel Sant’ Angelo in the centre background)

Weekend city breaks abroad have been few and far between for us over the years as we prefer to travel around Ireland when we get a chance for a few days away.  We had been intending to return to Rome sooner but with one thing or another had put it off until now.  On this visit, my Aunt and her husband came along and they were just wonderful company for the weekend (it was their first visit here and they most certainly were not disappointed!)

Rome is just the most beautiful city and combine that with a vast choice of places to stay, amazing history and fabulous food, then you really have the making of the most perfect getaway!

I love this view from the Spanish Steps down the Via Condotti (where there are so many Designer Shops)

There are so many cities in Europe to explore but I think Rome tops them all – ask anyone to name the famous sights in Rome and I guarantee you they will come up with at least five!  We didn’t manage to fit in everything we wanted to on this visit due to the arrival of a heavy coating of snow very early on Monday morning, but I don’t think anyone (even the Romans) knew that snow was coming!!  We were told at our hotel that it had been 10 years since they last had snow in the city and wasn’t it just our luck that it had to arrive when we were there! Many of the monuments were closed for safety reasons on the Monday and so this meant we had to spend our time lazing around shopping and having an extended lunch (no pain for me there 🙂 )

We flew with Ryanair from Dublin to Rome Ciampino Airport on a flight at 6.25am on Saturday Morning (the other option was for 4.30pm the same evening).  While this meant us having an extremely early start, it got to us Rome well before lunchtime and left almost an entire day to explore the city.  We flew home on the 9.00pm flight on the Monday night.

We took the Airport Transfer Coach from Ciampino and bought our tickets when we arrived – €9 return.  You can go on-line before you travel and book coach transfers or if you feel like spending a bit more, private taxi or mini bus.

We stayed at the Hotel Quirinale on Via Nationale.  The hotel is very traditional in style with lots of antique furniture and has a sort of ‘faded grandeur’ feel about it (we prefer this type of hotel to the contemporary hotels found in many cities nowadays which from the inside, while beautiful, are decorated in such a way as they could be located anywhere in the world!)  The hotel is less than 10 minutes walk from Rome’s Termini (Train) Station where our bus transfer dropped us off and was in an ideal location to where we were staying.

Our Hotel Room

Saturday was a showery day but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for sightseeing… We managed to fit in the Spanish Steps, Monument of Victor Emmanuel II and and the beautiful Trevi Fountain ♥

The Spanish Steps – a location used in the Movie ‘Roman Holiday’ with Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck
Just the two of us (and another few hundred!!!)

Tradition states that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain you will return to Rome – It is said €3,000 is thrown into it EVERY day!! (that’s a lot of return visitors)

The Famous Trevi Fountain – so amazing but so crowded with tourists!!
Monument of Victor Emmanuel II on the Piazza Venezia

We ate at some great restaurants and this included the restaurant at our hotel where we had lunch twice.  On our first night we dined in the Ristorante Nerone on Via del Viminale 7A.  I can highly recommend it to anyone who is visiting Rome.  Experience has taught me to research and book restaurants before we travel away and this one didn’t disappoint.  They don’t have a website to email for bookings but if you contact them through Facebook they will reply very quickly – Rimo looks after their bookings and replied to my message within 30 minutes.  He was also there on the evening we arrived and made us feel so welcome and I cannot praise him enough!  There was a terrific vibe in the restaurant and every table was full – booking a table in advance would be absolutely necessary to avoid disappointment.  The food was very typically Italian and we enjoyed every dish we tried from the bruschetta, caprese salad, and fillet steak (to which they added a complimentary mushroom sauce) but for us the ‘piece de resistance’ were certainly the desserts which were all homemade – we tried the Tiramisu, Panacotta and the strawberry semi-freddo.  We were also given a complimentary limoncello at the end of the meal.

Please try this restaurant if you visit Rome!!

On our second evening, we had booked a meal at Babbo’s Restaurant.  Again food was really good although my main dish of homemade egg noodles with lobster I felt was just OK.  The rest of the main courses were devoured and desserts again (Tiramisu, Warm Italian Apple Cake and Profiteroles filled with Pistachio Cream and covered in white chocolate sauce), were beautiful!  Staff were very friendly and knowledgeable about their food.

Feargal ordered a large Beer – he never realised that this meant 1 litre 🙂
Italian Meatballs covered in a Roasted Hazelnut Crust
Profiteroles filled with Pistachio Cream and covered in white chocolate sauce – now there’s a dessert!

There are so many wonderful places to eat in the city that you will be totally spoiled for choice – my top tip though is to always research before you go and try to book restaurants close to where you are staying.  Rome has over 10,000 (according to Tripadvisor!) so you will have no problem finding something to suit all tastes and budgets 🙂

The highlight of the trip had to be the day we spent at the Vatican.  It is just the most amazing place and if there was only one thing that you got to do in Rome then a visit here is a must!!  We arrived on the Sunday in time to see the Pope who gives a short sermon from the window of one of the apartments in the Vatican City.  Afterwards, we climbed to the top of the Dome of the basilica which will give you the most fantastic view over the entire city and on returning to ‘ground level’ spent some time wandering around and admiring the church itself.

All Roads Lead to Rome!

St Peter’s Basillicia – How could you not be amazed by it!!
The View from the Top of the Dome of St Peters Basillicia – well worth the 521 steps it takes to get there!!

We were lucky enough to be there for the Pope’s Sunday Angelus when he gives a short speech followed by the Angelus and ending with an Apostolic Blessing
The Pope sure has some Gaff 🙂 (Some of the beautiful buildings in the Vatican City – just look at those gardens ♥)
So Beautiful!

‘La Pieta’ by Michelangelo inside the Basilica
The Swiss Guards on Duty

What a difference a day makes….

I posted the following pics on Stories on my Instagram Account (countrylifemystyle) on the Sunday and Monday of last weekend and it is funny to see how much the weather could change in the two days….

Sunday morning view from our balcony…
And then Monday arrived 🙂

Some other wonderful sights which we didn’t get to see on this Trip:

  • The Colosseum (we’ve been here on previous visits and well worth including if you visit)
  • The Roman Forum (excavated heart of the Roman Empire)
  • Pantheon

I would also suggest that if you are visiting this wonderful city that you do so in either the Spring or Autumn – Rome (like many Mediterranean cities I’m sure) becomes very hot in the summer months and mix that with the vast amount of tourists around will make it very uncomfortable and difficult to get around and to enjoy what it has to offer

So there you go!  If you are planning a weekend break away, I would highly recommend you consider Rome – you will most definitely not regret it

Until next time

Bernie xx

















2 thoughts on “La Dolce Vita – Weekend in Rome”

  1. Oh Bernie, you’re putting the longing on me! Hard to believe we’ll be there in only 3 months time when I’m looking out at the weather we have today x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *